Technology Will Help the Economy

Views from Washington
Emily C. Wong

Julius Genachowski, Federal Communications Commission chairman, delivers a lecture at the Harvard Law School. This lecture, which is part of the Views from Washington series, attracted many attendees who had the opportunity to ask Genachowski questions about what he has planned for the next year as FCC chairman.

Innovations in communication technology are poised to play a crucial role in resolving the national economic crisis by stimulating job growth, according to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.

As part of the ongoing Views from Washington series at Harvard Law School, Genachowski said last night that he believes governmental transparency is at an all-time high, and the ability of citizens to access and act on information is “nothing like we’ve ever seen before.”

The move toward more open channels of communication, particularly on the Internet, is crucial for the stimulation of economic growth, according to Genachowski. He cited the FCC’s own efforts in this regard, such as the digitalization of documents, the creation of a broad data map, and the publication of data in the FCC system’s application programming interface.

“I’m a big believer in the idea of opening up our data and information to a broader audience,” he said. “We have to keep the Internet open for innovation, open for speech.”

But Genachowski said that the government still needs to accelerate its efforts to broaden access to the informational infrastructure for Americans with disabilities.

Nongovernmental sources have developed significant innovations to promote informational access for people with disabilities, such as Apple’s series of iPhone applications specifically tailored for disabled individuals, according to Genachowski.

Moreover, America’s success in the realm of technology during the last century actually makes it more difficult to maintain the same level of performance today, he noted. Innovations made in the 20th century have “created a series of legacy issues that pose a challenge for us to be globally competitive in the 21st century,” Genachowski said.

Jonathan T. Thrope, an HLS student who attended the talk, said that he felt relieved to know that the FCC chairman was conscious of America’s struggle to remain competitive in the global technological economy.

“It’s nice to hear that he is very aware of that and working to make sure America doesn’t fall even further behind,” Thrope said.